Dr John Vaughan receiving the Supervisor of the Year Award (North Coast) in 2017

Farewell to Hastings Macleay General Practice Network 

At the Annual General Meeting of the Hastings Macleay General Practice Network (HMGPN) on 19 March 2019 it was announced  that the organisation would be wound up. 

HMGPN started in 1994 as part of the Labor government’s initiative to build a framework for supporting general practice at the local level. It was one of four Divisions of General Practice, as they were then known, covering the North Coast footprint from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie. 

The Divisions and later Networks ceased further direct Federal government funding after the establishment of Medicare Locals in 2013, putting great financial pressure on these organisations and causing many of them to cease operation. 

John Langill, heading off to new lands

John Langill, CEO, North Coast GP Training (2006 – 2019), looks back on his time skippering the iconic regional organisation.

As I sat down to write about my time with North Coast GP Training, I couldn’t decide whether to take you on a nostalgic journey back to when the company was just starting out, or  concentrate on the wonderful GPs-in-training with whom we worked over the years or perhaps focus on new beginnings, fresh starts and a continuation of the story. 

Let’s go with the last, the future is always more interesting, and if things change then I can’t be held to account!

Pictured at William Creek airfield before flying over Kati Thander-Lake Eyre, now in a dramatic flood phase, are (l-r) Seair Pacific pilot and guide Kirk Campbell, Ruth Tinker, Susan Brown, Jane Griffin, John Haggerty, Andrew Binns, Jeni Binns, Emily Yorston, Mark Hartcher, Maree Beek, Jurriaan Beek, and pilot and GP Izaac Flanagan.

Named for an English audience after the explorer Edward John Eyre, who first sighted it in 1840, Australia’s Lake Eyre is still one of the natural wonders of the world. Not for thirty years would the lake’s expanse be determined, and was 113 years before the site would be renamed Kati Thander, the sacred Aboriginal name for its more common characteristic, a flat salt pan. Showing how dry and hard it can be, it was chosen in 1964 as the site for Donald Campbell’s successful world land-speed record (of 403mph) in his wheel-driven Bluebird.

The traditional name refers to “how the lake was formed after the skin of a kangaroo was spread over the ground”.

When full, it is one of the largest inland seas in the world as well as being the lowest natural point in Australia at 15 metres below sea level. On the rare occasion when totally full - a major flood may occur about every eight years - it covers 9,500 square kilometers. The feeder rivers such as Warburton Creek, Cooper Creek and Diamantina River from Queensland’s Channel Country turn the whole basin into a vast wetland.

 Dr Andrea Zarkovic shares valuable tips on maintaining vision in AMD patients in the primary care setting.

Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and those at high risk of developing the disease make up a large proportion of patients attending general practice.GPs can play an important role in the diagnosis and management of patients with macular degeneration.

 

Who should be checked for wet AMD?

Prevalence of AMD-related blindness in Australia has declined in recent years. While this is largely due to successful treatment, the key to success has been early diagnosis prompted by awareness of AMD in the general population and medical community.

Despite taking seven weeks to reply to the Commissioner’s request for a six-month extended deadline for the NSW Government’s inquiry into the drug ‘Ice’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian has agreed to only half that time.

This is despite a two-page written request by Commissioner Dan Howard SC arguing that the original deadline of 28 October 2019 “allows insufficient time for the Commission to adequately address the many important matters raised by the terms of reference.”